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Develop a Culture of Empowerment

Empowerment means creating an environment in which people can make the most effective use of their skills, experiences, energies, and ambitions. It allows women to develop a sense of ownership over their part of the process, thus sharing in the broader responsibility.

Jesus exemplifies the empowering leader as He set people free from their sins and social constraints so that they could: follow, serve, and give. As He returned to heaven, He commanded them to empower others. This empowering process comes after salvation. It brings people to a discovery of their own giftedness and freedom to become all that they were meant to be. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus guides and encourages, rather than controls and directs.

Read Matthew 28:19-20.

In order to develop a partnership with others, leaders must share information with those they lead. Without information, people cannot act responsibly because they have no basis upon which to monitor themselves or make sound decisions. An adequate mix of knowledge, information, power, and reward are necessary to create a culture in which people can be empowered. Through information sharing, leaders gain the trust of their people. Misinformation or filtering information causes trust and credibility to be lost. A leader who shares the power that information represents reduces the barriers—including people in the circle of influence and involvement. This is especially true if sensitive information is shared.

Another key is to create autonomy through boundaries. While empowerment involves minimizing structure so people can operate autonomously, leaders must begin the process by creating more, rather than less, structure. In hierarchy, structure is created to inhibit the behavior of people. In empowerment, the structures are intended to inform the team members of the parameters in which they can act with autonomy.

The goal of empowerment is that people eventually become self-reliant achievers. Rather than waiting to be told what to do, they will anticipate what needs to be done and take appropriate action on their own. A move must occur from dependence on the leadership of others to independence from—or interdependence with—external leadership. For this to happen, the process must be nurtured by those in leadership.

Reflection Questions

What is the greatest barrier to empowerment in your local Women’s Ministries?

Give three practical steps that would encourage the creation of an environment of empowerment?

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®. COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984 BY INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY®.

“Transformational Leadership” is published by the National Women’s Department at women.ag.org, 2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.